A great period of English drama – perhaps the greatest – began in the 1580s with the establishment in London of professional companies and professional theatres, and came to an abrupt end in 1642 when both theatres and companies were closed by the Puritans in the wake of civil war. We think of it as Shakespeare’s era, but it was far from being his alone. This year’s playbill includes not only three plays by Shakespeare, but a production of one of the other great English plays of his time – The Changeling by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley. With this in mind, the Shakespeare and Company series investigates the links and the differences between Shakespeare and his contemporaries and spotlights an incredibly rich area of drama still waiting to be fully explored.They Aren't All the SameShakespeare’s achievement is so vast and so familiar that we often assume that other plays of the period are copies of his. In fact, they can be very different, in style, tone and subject-matter. National Post theatre critic Robert Cushman, Jackie Maxwell, director of The Changeling, director and company member Scott Wentworth, and company member Ben Carlson discuss the problems and opportunities in moving from Shakespeare’s plays to those of his colleagues and contemporaries.
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